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Manga / Kurogane Pukapuka Tai

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Intro page of the manga, showing Commander Kuki (aka "Cookie")

Kurogane Pukapuka Tai is a World War II yuri comedy manga series following the exploits of the fictional Imperial Japanese Navy commerce raiding cruiser Unebi — which is entirely crewed by women except for the captain (who does nothing but drink tea, tend his bonsai, and sleep, it seems). They encounter a German U-boat, the U-800, also crewed entirely by women, and a British destroyer, the HMS Cutlass, commanded by women; most of the women appear to be exclusively interested in the other women. Obviously, the historical accuracy here is high!note 

That said, the military details aren't utterly ludicrous; the mangaka is obviously a bit of a military otaku as well as a Yuri Fan. All the ships are fictional, of course, as are the military operations, though they're roughly plausible; there were commerce raiding cruisers and the like, described on The Other Wiki. The backstory of the Unebi is based on the raiders Aikoku Maru and Hokoku Maru; the Unebi, however, is a military vessel in outline, although supposedly construction began as a civilian ship, while the real-life raiders were civilian freighters in outline.


Most of the time, of course, it's simply a device to have sexy women-in-uniform fanservice and plenty of sexual and romantic girl-girl comedic action.

This work shows examples of:

  • Absolute Cleavage: Captain Ann wears her tropical uniform shirt like this; it's generally unbuttoned to below her breasts, which are definitely not supported by a bra.
  • Accidental Pervert: Supply Captain Klaus Eder accidentally feels up Obama while transferring supplies.
  • Ace Pilot: Kurushima, who evades a heavily-armed British fighter in her lightly-armed and unprotected seaplane. With her right hand not working.
  • Action Girl: A lot of them, but Commander Kuki's unarmed repelling of the HMS Cutlass' boarders is a good example.
  • All Germans Are Nazis: Avoided; chapter ten shows that Captain Nina is most definitely not a Nazi sympathizer. She is, in fact, hiding a Jewish crewmember from the Gestapo. This is Truth in Television since the Kreigsmarine wasn't very fond of the Nazis, since they poured the most money into the Heer and Luftwaffe.
  • Artistic License – Ships: Largely averted; the mangaka did the research. All the main ships are fictional examples of their types, of course.
    • The Unebi is completely fictional, though with a plausible backstory except for the claim of it being modified on the slips from a commercial vessel; its appearance is all warship. It is a shortish cruiser that mounts two turrets each mounting a pair of 30cm (12") guns; these were taken from the scrapped battleship ''Settsu'', making the Unebi a small pocket battleship, similar in conception to the German Deutschland (Graf Spee) type although significantly smaller. Such a ship is mentioned in US intelligence reports on Japanese ship builds of the period, explicitly as a Japanese take on the German concept. It was supposedly called Chichibu and the USN was so convinced of its existance they built the Alaska-class "large cruisers" to fight it.
    • The U-800 is a fictional member of the very real Type IXC U-boat, a long-ranged type quite possible to have in the Indian Ocean attacking British supply lines.
    • HMS Cutlass is a C class destroyer of the Royal Navy. All the real C class vessels were by 1943 transferred to the Royal Canadian Navy, but two of the very similar D class remained in service. It's likely the mangaka just chose to use a C class to allow a name beginning with 'C', ignoring the minor historical inaccuracy. None of either class appear to have served in the Indian Ocean, however.
    • HMS Aldebaran, which Captain Ann is transferred to command after the writing-off of the ruined Cutlass, is a fictional member of the quite real Royal Navy ''Arethusa'' class of light cruiser.
    • USS Virgin seems to be completely fictional. Her 12" guns are rather larger than most cruisers carried; in real life only the Alaska class had guns that big among US cruisers. Very few US heavy cruisers during World War 2 that used single-gun enclosed secondary turrets, and none used 2x2 main turret configuration.
    • The Michelangelo Buonarroti is, considering the name and design, a fictional unit of the Marconi-class submarine, an ocean-going Italian submarine. One of them, the Leonardo da Vinci, made a brief foray in the Indian Ocean as an attack submarine, while another, the Luigi Torelli, was later converted into a transport submarine, and was later taken over by the Kriegsmarine and the IJN.
  • Author Appeal: The mangaka is obviously a military otaku and a Yuri Fan.
  • Bare Your Midriff: The new outfits designed for Kurushima and Nojima for the fashion show.
  • Beach Episode: U-800's all-girl crew visit Penang, a Malaysian island occupied by the Japanese which was really used as a U-boat base by the Germans in WW2. Beach volleyball in anachronistically modern swimsuits ensues, but the fun is abruptly ruined by the arrival of the Gestapo.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Mamiya's is anyone who threatens or disrespects Commander Kuki.
    • In case of Commander Mary, anyone who attracts Captain Ann's attention.
  • Beta Couple : Kurushima and Nojima, the seaplane crew. So far they're the only relationship shown that doesn't tie into the Unwanted Harem around Commander Kuki somehow.
  • Blinding Bangs: Chief Accountant Murakami hair always covers her eyes.
  • Bling of War: Many characters are pretty much only ever shown in full dress uniform with all the trimmings; Commander Kuki is always in Imperial Japanese Navy full-dress blues, and immaculately put together, while U-boat Captain Nina Stortebeker is in full Kriegsmarine dress uniform even after months at sea, including a Knight's Cross around her neck.
  • Bloodless Carnage: At first, and most of the time we don't see any deaths or even blood.
    • For the first time we see someone seriously hurt (and for a while, we don't even know how badly) in chapter 3, which is generally Darker and Edgier. It adds a somber undercurrent to the series. It puts us on notice that the characters can get hurt, and can die, and that they are really at war, and not just playing on the Lesbian Love Boat.
    • On the other hand, no wounds result from seemingly more dangerous situations, like the British boarding attack on Unebi (during which no shots were fired), or the following three-ship, point-blank range cannonade.
    • Played with after the battle with the HMS Aldebaran. Chapter 14 opens with a Burial at Sea, but it turns out that it's really a funeral for the Shiokara Tonbo, the Unebi's seaplane.
  • Born Lucky: Captain Chris Dampier of the Australian Minesweeper Wallaby. Before the battle with Unebi, her ship wasn't damaged even once (for example, prior to the scene, her ship suffered 5 torpedo hits that all turned out to be a dud). In fact, the crew of the ship is exploiting this fact against Unebi. Obama can't even hit the Wallaby until she provoke Kuki into turning the ship for full broadside, and even then, it's still not enough (with a shell hitting the bridge actually end up unexploded in the XO's bed) before the Europa arrived.
  • Call-Back: The Gestapo officer from Chapter 10 makes another appearance in Chapter 18. Unlike in Chapter 10, though, this time, he doesn't walk away unscathed. Actually, the Gestapo bastard doesn't walk away at all.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Mamiya does this in her daydream sequences where she's chopping up warships — "Shin Mamiya Ryuu: Warship Slash!"
  • The Captain: Each ship has one, of course, but Kuki seems to fill in for her boss a lot.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Of the female cast so far, only gunnery officer Obama and Dr. Mukai has been portrayed as heterosexual.
  • Char Clone: One chapter has the crew of the Unebi rescuing an army pilot named Sha "the Red Comet" who comes complete with red fighter plane and mask.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Commander Mary, who's very familiar with Captain Ann's wandering eyes and appetites. Ann generally silences her with a kiss, and the resulting Post-Kiss Catatonia she seems to be so good at causing.
  • Clothing Damage: Several times, but most notably with Captain Ann; Mamiya's katana strips her of everything above the waist, except for a shoulder holster with concealed second revolver and a very conveniently placed leather strap across Ann's chest that just hides her nipples.
  • Clueless Aesop: The Holocaust is brought up in Chapter 10 but isn't treated with any sort of depth, being used more as a plot device than anything. Elsa's plotline does get a more serious treatment than most other characters', though.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Done to the captured male British captain in chapter one, with a sword.
  • Communications Officer: Kushiku, who is a borderline-Hikkikomori who stays in the radio room and hardly ever speaks to anyone but has a great talent at decoding enemy transmissions.
  • Cooking Duel: One happened in the end of volume 3 between Kuki and Zubin, an Indian crew of a captured British merchant ship, due to another Indian crew complaining about how Japanese curry isn't real curry back in volume 2. Thus, they decide to have a duel to see whether Japanese or Indian curry cooked by them are better. The winner end up being...Elsa, who thought of combining both of them together after their scores are tied (There are 4 judges in the panel. Originally there were 5...but said 5th person is Mamiya. You can guess how she votes when it comes to Kuki. Hint: it's before the duel starts.).
  • Cool Boat: the Unebi, among others.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl:
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Chapter 3, where blood is displayed for the first and (so far) last time in this manga.
    • Chapter 10, which mentions Shoah/The Holocaust.
    • Chapter 18, where we see the Gestapo officer from Chapter 10 again. This time, he shows how truly despicable he is by hitting and pulling a gun on children and also hitting Obama for trying to stop him from shooting said children. Good thing Chief Engineer Kobayakawa was there too to stop him via chokehold. What follows is some satisfying retribution. against the Gestapo bastard.
  • Daydream Surprise: We frequently get this, especially from Mamiya, who often lapses into dreamy-eyed imaginings of her rivals for Commander Kuki's love dying and Mamiya performing impossible feats of heroism to win Kuki over.
  • The Determinator: Mamiya, who attempts to conquer the HMS Cutlass by herself, oblivious even to her beloved Cookie's orders, in full Glowing Eyes of Doom mode, seemingly impervious to the shells of the Cutlass' main armament and everything else.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Female on Male: this seems to be Obama Mifuyu's seduction technique.
  • Dual Wielding: Commander Mary, HMS Cutlass' No.1., with twin (small) cutlasses.
  • Enemy of My Enemy: In love, at least; Nina asks Ann to "do something about her" (Mamiya); Ann wonders aloud "Aren't you two on the same side, anyway?"
  • Everyone Can See It: Apart from Commander Kuki, as it seems.
  • Form-Fitting Wardrobe: The uniforms seem to fit rather more snugly than they should, unsurprisingly enough, particularly Kuki's and Mamiya's; they are tight enough to require spandex.
  • Funbag Airbag: Kuki stumbles into Mamiya like this; then Mamiya turns it into Marshmallow Hell.
  • Furo Scene: Obama, wakened from sleeping (in her bunk!) by the weeks-without-bathing stench of Captain Nina Stortebeker, strips her naked and throws her in the tub, followed by violent scrubbing with a broom. Then she throws all of the U-800's crew in the bath.
  • Genki Girl: The Unebi's pilot, Kiku, is a short, excitably cheerful girl who adores her plane and loves flying.
  • Girl In Back:
    • Nojima for the Unibi's reconnaissance seaplane.
    • Also true for the Fairey Fulmar fighter which Kurushima manages to evade (see Ace Pilot above).
  • Girlish Pigtails: Corporal Elsa Ebbers of the U-800, transferred to Unebi.
  • The Glomp: Commander Mary on Captain Ann.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Mamiya, especially when jealous of another girl paying attention to Kuki. Also Obama, if anything gets between her and sleep.
  • Groin Attack: Done by Gunnery Officer Obama to a Gestapo officer in Chapter 18. Even better, said Gestapo officer is the same smug bastard that threatened Captain Nina Stortenbeker and Elsa Ebbers back in Chapter 10 making this a double Laser-Guided Karma situation.
  • Hello, Sailor!: Nearly every female character is a lesbian, or at least bisexual.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Kuki, Chiga and Obama (Mamiya not counted in for obvious reasons).
  • I Ate WHAT?!: After the Unebi helps the Italian submarine Michelangelo Buonarroti repair their engine, her captain repays the Unebi by serving them Spaghetti with Fresh Mushrooms. However, Kuki and the rest of the crew gets sick when they learn the Italians grew the mushrooms in their submarine using their damp panties.
  • Ill Girl: It looks like pilot Kurushima is going to become one of these. Her clumsiness appears just cute and funny at first, but then we realize her right hand isn't working properly, even though nothing appears wrong with it. She's hiding it from her superiors, and thinks she's hiding it from her partner Nojima — but of course she knows — but isn't telling anyone because she doesn't want to fly with anyone else. Might be some kind of neurological damage.
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Mamiya, who manages to inflict Clothing Damage on British merchant seamen who don't respect her Cookie, slices Commander Mary's scimitars in half with her katana, deflects Captain Ann's bullets and then cuts her revolver in half. As a consequence, Mamiya is also Immune to Bullets and a One Woman Army.
  • Improbably Female Cast: And how. There's only one man on the Unebi, the elderly, Zen Master-like Captain, no men at all on the U-800, and while the crew of the HMS Cutlass appear to be largely male, they're pretty much just a Redshirt Army. The captured British seamen in chapter 1 have more of a speaking part than anyone else male; at first, they think they can escape, but seeing the women put on a fashion show of new tropical uniforms convinces them they might be better off where they are.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: At least in Mamiya's hands; she defeats other swords, guns, and takes on the 4.7" guns of HMS Cutlass armed only with one until events intervene. Of course, even this doesn't match her dreams of glory in which she chops up whole fleets ...
  • Kiss of Life: Kuki rescues Mamiya from drowning and performs this; of course Mamiya awakes with their lips touching, and falls instantly and completely in love. Kuki's wet, clingy shirt doesn't help the lust aspect, either!
  • Lady of War: Mamiya is beautiful, graceful, and deadly with a sword.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Where to begin? Captain Rackham is in love with Mary, who is in love with Ann, who wants to rape Kuki, who is crushed upon by the majority of her crew, most prominently Mamiya.
  • Luminescent Blush: Many of the cast, but especially Mamiya, when caught being too obvious about her obsession with her commander.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Commander Kuki, whose nickname, "Cookie", has all the intentional Double Entendre meanings. All the girls want to eat her, and all that.
    • Meanwhile, Gunnery Officer Obama has a name that was possibly not chosen to be meaningful, but is a source of amusement nonetheless. Specifically when talking about her preferred equipment size. In addition, her first name, Mifuyu, translates as "Beautiful Winter".
  • Meganekko: Chiga, the Unebi's navigator, has large, thick glasses.
  • Mildly Military: They're not even trying...
  • Military Moe: Three naval vessels provide a stage for romantic entanglements between their all-female crews.
  • Military Moonshiner: Chapters 26-28 revolve around a group of Unebi crew brewing sake aboard ship. Dr. Mukai, Chief Engineer Kobayakawa, Gunnery Officer Obama, and Purser Murakami are the ringleaders and the sake winds up being used for the captain's birthday party.
  • Mood Whiplash: Between comedic and dramatic, for one thing.
  • More Dakka: This seems to be the favourite tactic of Captain Nina and Obama.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Gunnery Officer Obama Mifuyu, one of the two out heterosexual woman in the series,note  who's constantly unbuttoning her uniform shirt (she gets too hot in the tropics) and telling everyone how she needs a MAN. Royal Navy Captain Ann runs a close second, dressing as revealingly but in a far more obviously predatory way. Obama is just as predatory, however, it's just less obvious.
  • Name's the Same: Obama obviously with the President of the US.
  • Nosebleed: Commander Kuki tends to have this effect on Mamiya. Later, Nina exploits this to stop Mamiya's Unstoppable Rage by stripping Kuki in front of her.
  • No Sense of Direction: Kiku and Sha...who are both pilots. At least Kiku has Atsuko to help her in flight.
  • Number Two: Each ship has one. Technically, Kuki is #2 on the Unebi. Mary on the HMS Cutlass.
  • Oblivious to Love: Commander Kuki, and how! Although one wonders, given her tendency to get so very flustered when women make advances to her, whether this is more a matter of willfully not seeing things she's not ready to deal with.
  • Ojou Ringlets: Gunnery officer Obama (not that one), one of the two known heterosexual women on the Unebi along with Dr. Mukai. Her BFGs (12" guns from an old battleship) are not compensating for anything, honest.
  • One Head Taller: the crew of the Unebi's observation seaplane, short pilot Kurushima and tall navigator/gunner Nojima, with plenty of opportunity for this trope to show up.
    • Also Mamiya and Cookie, and Ann and Mary.
  • Painting the Medium: Commander Kuki rips Obama's speech balloon because of its lewdness.
  • Panty Shot: Surprisingly few, but Mamiya gives one in her own imaginings.
  • Post-Kiss Catatonia: Captain Ann has this effect on women when she kisses them. She's nicknamed the Devil Kisser because of this.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
  • Revolvers Are Just Better — in the opinion of Captain Ann of HMS Cutlass, who carries a big Webley.
    • Reasonably historical, as it was the current British service sidearm.
  • Shout-Out:
    • An end-illustration to chapter 1 has commander Kuki and XO Mamiya acting out the "I'm the king of the world!" scene from Titanic (1997). Good thing they're in the tropics, no?
    • In chapter 15 there's an intro based on Maria Watches Over Us in the light novel written by Chiga and published by Murikami.
    • Chapter 32 has the... revised uniforms bear a striking resemblance to Senketsu and Junketsu. Taking it even further is the fact that Mamiya strongly resembles Satsuki and even wields a katana.
  • Spider-Sense: Chris seems to be able to detect incoming enemy ships with her hair, although she doesn't know about this herself (but her XO does).
  • Spot of Tea: The very first thing we see of HMS Cutlass is a teacup, that of Commander Mary — who, we see in on the next page, sips her tea with pinky finger raised high, signifying her more ladylike, prissy demeanor compared to Captain Ann's more earthy and aggressive nature. Ann grasps her cup firmly. Tea leads to sex, naturally. The Unebi's captain is also frequently seen drinking tea.
  • There Is Only One Bed: When Commander Kuki lets Mamiya stay in her quarters after Mamiya's quarters suffered battle damage. It is unclear as of yet whether this part was an example of Kuki's actual cluelessness, an extreme case of self-denial on her part, or a thinly-veiled invitation. Another possibility is that Commander Kuki simply enjoys Mamiya's suffering.
    • Another time, again with Kuki, is when Elsa was initially transferred to the Unebi.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: In a series that loves to play with tropes and stereotypes, the Germans are in no way excepted.
    • Captain Nina Stortebeker is a blonde, warrior-braided valkyrie straight out of Wagner. She puts on the Reich well, almost always appearing in full-dress uniform with a Knight's Cross at her throat, but with individualistic touches as befits a submarine commander, a breed not given to too much conformity. Her peaked cap is generally off-center and her sleeves are rolled up. She also fits the Nazis-as-perverts trope, with her obsession for the ripe odor of her "maidens" after weeks at sea, which is shown as a spiritual connection to her crew in her mind. Nina also carries a whip, playing further into that trope. She also meets the Oskar Schindler trope, since we find out she's been hiding a Jewish crewmember from the Gestapo.
    • The Chief at Penang shares Nina's smell fetish, and the general low opinion of Nazi ideology.
    • The Gestapo officer sniffing around Nina and her crew is the complete stereotype, complete with pince-nez glasses à la Himmler.
  • Three-Point Landing: after sliding down a rope to repel boarders from HMS Cutlass, Commander Kuki lands in this stereotypical shonen action hero manner.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: the seaplane crew, short-haired cute little tomboyish pilot Kurushima Kiku ("Chibikuru-chan") and tall, calm, womanly Huge Schoolgirl-type navigator/gunner Nojima Atsuko ("At-chan"). They both bond over their pain of always being singled out because they're not normal height, among other things.
  • Tsundere: Kurushima Kiku.
    • Commander Mary might also count.
  • Unknown Rival: Wilhelmina Avery, captain of the American ship, has held a grudge against Kuki ever since they went to school in Japan together. Kuki, conversely, has fond memories of Avery, stating that she excelled in kindness and loveliness, and doesn't even realize that she's hunting her.
  • Unwanted Harem: Commander Kuki is desired by at least four women: her XO, Mamiya; Comm Officer Kushiku; German U-boat commander Nina Stortebaker; and British Captain Ann. They (except Kushiku) are very competitive. Ann, meanwhile, is desired by her Number One, Commander Mary, who is desired by Ann's rival, Joanna.
  • Vapor Wear: Captain Ann, almost certainly.
  • The Voiceless: the Unebi's captain, who has spoken exactly once so far.
  • Would Hit a Girl: The Gestapo officer from Chapter 10 appears again in Chapter 18 and smacks away a little girl trying to sell him fruit. The girl's brother throws fruit at him for hitting her and the officer pulls a gun on them. Luckily, one Gunnery Officer Mifuyu Obama saw all of this and stops the gun from firing by blocking the hammer of the gun then she calls the Gestapo officer out for being extreme in his methods, especially to just a bunch of kids. The Gestapo officer then also slaps Obama and points the gun at her too before Chief Engineer Kobayakawa puts the Gestapo officer in a chokehold. What follows is some satisfying karmic retribution for Obama against said officer...
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: Mamiya, the Unebi's executive officer. She has long black hair in a Hime Cut and carries a katana; what more could you want?
  • Yandere:
    • Mamiya is very possessive of Kuki, going out of her way to intimidate and frighten anyone who she thinks is putting the moves on her CO. However, this is played for laughs rather than drama.
    • Mary is determined to kill Kuki in order to keep Ann's affections centred on her.
  • Your Favorite: Nojima knows exactly how to cheer Kurushima out of her funk after their seaplane is damaged in the storm; canned pineapple, which is clearly Kuru's Trademark Favorite Food.


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